Gao Jun’s Transition from Practicing Western Medicine to Chinese Medicine
I have heard of and met quite a few elderly doctors of Western medicine turning to study Chinese medicine, some of whom went on to become TCM masters. This phenomenon is rare among younger doctors.
Once I went to Dalian to attend a conference of folk doctors and got to know one such doctor named Gao Jun. We hit it off and soon became friends. Gao studied at Harbin Medical University, and since graduation, he has been working at the Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology in the hospital of a mining company in Heilongjiang province in northern China. At the time we met, he was an attending physician. Although his academic background was Western medicine, his bond with Chinese medicine had started long before college. Gao began to learn from folk doctors at 16, and has been learning and practicing Chinese medicine ever since.
“I studied Western medicine at college hoping to transform Chinese medicine with modern sci-tech Western medicine. But when I began actual work at the hospital, I found that, contrary to my previous ideal, Western medicine needs to be transformed by Chinese medicine, for it falls far behind Chinese medicine in efficacy; more importantly, my biggest concern now is the increasingly rampant drug use and severe side effects of Western medicine and surgery.” said Gao.
“How do you treat orthopedic diseases as a doctor of Western medicine?” I asked out of curiosity.
“Medication, painkillers in many cases.” he replied.
Then he went on to explain that prolonged intake of these drugs impairs functions of the liver and kidney and has severe side effects. Doctors try to avoid taking these drugs themselves.
I knew this from my personal experience. Often, doctors who operate on patients with lumbar disc herniation would come to me to receive my treatment. When asked why not undergo an operation, their reply was, “It brings more bad than good.”
Gao then said, “The efficacy of Physiotherapy in Western medicine could not compare with that of external therapies in Chinese medicine.”
“How come?” I asked.
“Have you seen a doctor of Western medicine bold enough to challenge a doctor of Chinese medicine on the efficacy of external treatment?” was his reply.
This is indeed the case, for the gravely ill patients that I have treated are almost invariably those who failed to find a cure after trying medication, surgery and external treatments at famous hospitals.
Gao sighed, “Surgery is the most common and lucrative option in a hospital.”
“What diseases have you cured with therapies of Western medicine?” I asked.
He did not give me a direct answer. Instead, he said, “Although I work as a Western doctor, when it comes to actually curing a disease, I use Chinese medicine, including tablets and ointments that I prepare myself.”
He confessed that having worked in the hospital for over 10 years, he had found so many horrendous malpractices in Western medicine. It tends to complicate simple matters, from checks, tests, medication to surgery, and for the sake of making more money. Out of conscience, he started a website called “China Green Health” to promote Chinese medicine.
As a doctor of Western medicine, he very cautiously tried to avoid direct criticism of Western medicine. He tactfully put it this way, “Western medicine has yet to provide an effective cure. I do not expect much from doctors of Western medicine — Just DO NOT induce new diseases in patients. I rely almost entirely on Chinese medicine, or more exactly, folk medicine, for a genuinely effective cure. At work, I am a doctor of Western medicine; after working hours, I am a doctor of Chinese medicine.”
Gao Jun specializes in treating such diseases as waist bone pain, arthritis and rheumatoid. As a doctor of Western medicine having worked in hospital for over a decade, he knows exactly how such diseases are treated by doctors of Western medicine. Its reliance on medical devices and equipment is hard to imagine for a doctor of Chinese medicine.
Whatever disease a patient has, he has to go through a number of checks and tests. According to his estimation, each year, money spent on treating lumbar disc herniation in China amounts to tens of billions RMB, with billions spent on checks and tests alone. What a great way to make money!
The common practice for a doctor of Western medicine works like this: Whoever has lower back pain has to undergone X-ray, CT, MRI and routine blood tests. Before actual treatment, the patient may have already spent over a thousand yuan (a unit of Chinese currency). If indeed a problem is found, he has to take Western medicine, or be induced or forced to undergo an operation. How could a patient possibly disobey the authoritative doctor?
Surgery is the most convenient and lucrative option. Hospitals simply love it, and patients are carried to the operation table with great care. Thanks to anaesthetics, a patient who is cut open can somehow maintain his dignity. The operation is almost always “successful”, but the disease itself, more often than not, is not cured. Quite on the contrary, it tends to worsen.
Gao has been learning Chinese medicine over the years, so he used the terms of Chinese medicine to describe the hazards that Western medicine brings: Even the most “humane” operation involves cutting and bleeding. Surgery inevitably disrupts and weakens Qi and blood circulation, making the patient more vulnerable to external influences of wind, cold and dampness. This causes Qi to stagnate, leading to slow or stagnated blood flow. This will further aggravate the patient’s condition. To make matters worse, the high cost of an operation is a huge burden on the patient. A lumbar disc operation costs more than 10,000yuan at a small hospital; in a big one, it can cost several times that much. After all, getting “slaughtered” is not cost-free.
I asked, “What happens if you use therapies of Chinese medicine to treat the same disease?”
He replied, “Just several or dozens of yuan will do; whereas thousands of yuan spent on tests and treatments of Western medicine cannot buy a cure, and the patient can potentially suffer side effects.”
I repeatedly asked whether he had actually cured a disease with Western medicine. It beat him. He scratched his head and thought for a long time, but could not come up with one such case. Right, none at all!
“You have worked in hospital for over a decade, and yet you cannot even provide one successful case?” I asked.
He slowly shook his head and said, “If I use Western medicine, it would be great if the patient is not ‘mis-treated’.”
I asked him to exemplify the efficacy of Chinese medicine, and he instantly got invigorated and listed some genuine cases. To ensure the authenticity, the first typical case he gave was one of his colleagues who suffered from necrosis of the femoral head. It used to give him so much pain that he could not turn over at night. He had walked with crutches for three years and there was no improvement after prolonged treatment of Western medicine. In spite of this, he simply refused to have an operation. This has almost become today’s secret “code of conduct” among doctors — Just like people who refuse to eat the meat of pigs or fish they breed (for they’ve added so much toxic “nutrients” to speed up their growth), many surgeons refuse to go under the surgical knife themselves. Instead, they choose to seek treatment from folk doctors of Chinese medicine in private. His colleague had no other choice but to ask Gao to apply the self-made ointment on him. It worked in seven days, and a month later, he was cured.
Just to cut in here, the PaidaLajin (slapping and stretching) self-healing method recommended in this book has wonderful healing effect on necrosis of the femoral head. Up to now, there have been many successful cases. One was a man in Liaoning province who suffered from bilateral necrosis of the femoral head. On the opening day ofour E-TaoTraining Centre in Beijing, he came and stretched on a Lajin bench for around 10 minutes. Then he was able to squat, walk up and downstairs normally, postures impossible for him prior to stretching. It became an instant sensation among the attendees. Three months later, when I met him again in his hometown, he told me that he had long stopped medication, and had no more pain. Soon after his amazing healing experience, he opened a stretching salon to promote PaidaLajin.
I asked Gao to give me one more example. This time, he gave me a case of rheumatoid arthritis. The patient was an official in the local medical circle. As he had failed to find an effective cure after repeated treatments of Western medicine, Gao took in the patient and asked him to take herbal powder he had prepared. After approximately three months, he was clinically healed.
“What do you mean by ‘clinically healed’?” I asked.
“No more edema or pain, and the clinical curative effect sustained after medication is stopped.” was his reply.
“Where did you get the prescription?” I asked.
“From my master. I went uphill to pick medicinal herbs with my master and made the powder myself. But again, Chinese medicine is not a cure for all, and there are good and bad folk doctors. There are quacks who coax patients for money. But overall, Western medicine cannot compare with Chinese medicine.” He said.
We continued our conversation and he listed more cases…
Later, Gao came to stay in Beijing as well. When we met again, he had already started to learn external therapies from folk doctors. He found that those therapies worked stunningly fast and well. This gave him more confidence in Chinese medicine. Seeing his transition from an attending physician of Western medicine to a folk doctor of Chinese medicine, and the pills and ointments he prepared, I had a mixed feeling of relief, fancy, contradiction and absurdity. After all, here was another doctor of Chinese medicine trained in the master-disciple style. But, for a doctor of Western medicine aspiring to learn Chinese medicine, when faced with the many contradictions of morality, material gains and career prospect, he could be undecided, just like Hamlet in William Shakespeare’s play — To be, or not to be?